India invokes emergency laws to ban BBC Modi documentary

Government accused of ‘censorship’ over ban on film about PM’s role in violence during 2002 Gujarat riots

The Indian government has invoked emergency laws to block a BBC documentary examining the role of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, during riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

Controversy has erupted in India over the first episode of the two-part programme, India: The Modi Question, which tracked his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata party and his appointment as chief minister of Gujarat.

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Indian leather companies accused of enabling Russia’s war effort

Soldiers’ boots are made from imported Indian leather as country’s trade with Russia soars by 400%

Indian companies have been accused of enabling Russia’s war effort after exporting leather to Russian companies that make boots for its military in the months since the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and India have longstanding ties and Narendra Modi’s government has not joined western countries in openly criticising Moscow over the war nor stopped Indian companies trading with Russia.

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‘A threat to unity’: anger over push to make Hindi national language of India

Ruling BJP accused of agenda of ‘Hindi imposition’ in a country with more than 700 languages

Tensions are rising in India over prime minister Narendra Modi’s push to make Hindi the country’s dominant language.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janaya party (BJP) government has been accused of an agenda of “Hindi imposition” and “Hindi imperialism” and non-Hindi speaking states in south and east India have been fighting back.

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Modi’s BJP clinches landslide election victory in Gujarat

Bharatiya Janata party claims biggest electoral success on record in prime minister’s home state

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, was given a significant boost as his Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) won a landslide victory in his home state of Gujarat, a sign of the party’s enduring popularity before a general election due in 2024.

Gujarat has long been a stronghold of the Hindu nationalist BJP, which has won seven consecutive elections there since 1995, but Thursday’s results were the BJP’s biggest electoral success in the state on record. It looks on course to win a record 156 seats out of 182, giving it an 80% majority, the highest achieved by any party in the state’s history.

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Billionaire Modi ally on verge of taking over independent Indian news channel

Gautam Adani’s takeover of NDTV is ‘serious threat to democracy’ in India, says news anchor

One of India’s few remaining news channels known for independent reporting is about to be taken over by a billionaire ally of the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

In recent years, NDTV (New Delhi Television) has earned a reputation as one of the last bastions of independent journalism among India’s mainstream media, which have increasingly been put under pressure to toe the government line under Modi, who came to power in 2014.

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The Kashmir Files: Israeli director sparks outrage in India over ‘vulgar movie’ remarks

Nadav Lapid, chair of the International film festival India, spoke out against work that critics say is anti-Muslim propaganda

A row has erupted in India after an Israeli director described a controversial film about Kashmir as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”, prompting the Israeli ambassador to issue an apology.

Nadav Lapid, who was chair of this year’s panel of the international film festival of India (IFFI), spoke out against the inclusion of The Kashmir Files at the event.

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India faces deepening demographic divide as it prepares to overtake China as the world’s most populous country

India’s entrenched north-south divide is growing as its population changes, with serious social and political consequences

The cry of a baby born in India one day next year will herald a watershed moment for the country, when the scales tip and India overtakes China as the world’s most populous nation.

Yet the story of India’s population boom is really two stories. In the north, led by just two states, the population is still rising. In the richer south, numbers are stabilising and in some areas declining. The deepening divisions between these regions mean the government must eventually grapple with a unique problem: the consequences of a baby boom and an ageing population, all inside one nation.

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Indian police investigating film that portrays Kerala as Islamic terrorism hub

Makers of Bollywood film say it is based on real information and events but have not provided any evidence

Police in Kerala are investigating a controversial Bollywood film that portrays the southern Indian state as a hub of Islamic terrorism and forced conversion.

The Kerala Story, directed by Sudipto Sen, has come under criticism for its fictional depiction of tens of thousands of women from Kerala who it claims were converted to Islam and became terrorists for Islamic State in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

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Less Bollywood, more Tollywood: how Indian cinema’s hit machine flopped

Big releases with usually bankable male stars criticised for formulaic storylines as audience taste evolves

The opening of a new big-name Bollywood film was once a national event across India, greeted by weeks of fanfare, long queues outside cinemas and halls packed to the rafters with audiences cheering and singing along.

But this year, with 77% of releases flopping at the box office, cinema halls have been left eerily quiet and Bollywood’s once unshakeable domination of the Indian film industry has begun to look uncertain.

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India: two teenage sisters raped and murdered in Uttar Pradesh

Six men charged over deadly attack on girls, aged 15 and 17, of Dalit caste

Two sisters in Uttar Pradesh have been found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in the latest incident of sexual violence to shock India.

The bodies of the girls, aged 15 and 17, were found suspended from a tree by their shawls near their home in Lakhimpur district on Wednesday afternoon. They belonged to the Dalit caste, the lowest in India’s hierarchical and discriminatory Hindu caste system, which used to deem Dalits as “untouchables”.

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‘There hasn’t been closure’: India mourns Queen but awaits apology

In largest Commonwealth country, personal affection for Elizabeth II mingles with need for recognition of British colonial atrocities

Over the course of her seven-decade reign, Queen Elizabeth II made three visits to India, a country she would herald for its “richness and diversity”. But it was her third and final trip in 1997 that is often considered the most significant.

India was celebrating 50 years of independence and on the Queen’s itinerary was a visit to Jallianwala Bagh, the site in the city of Amritsar where in 1919 a British general ordered thousands of peaceful protesters to be shot, a massacre that was one of the bloodiest episodes of British colonial rule over India. The hope among many was that the Queen’s visit would finally bring about a long-awaited apology for colonial atrocities. But in the end, the apology never came.

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Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees the country

Rajapaksa, 73, and his wife boarded a special air force flight bound for the Maldives, local officials said

Sri Lanka’s embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has flown out of the country, heading to the neighbouring Maldives, according to local officials.

The 73-year-old leader, his wife and a bodyguard were among four passengers on board an Antonov-32 Sri Lankan military aircraft which took off from Colombo’s international airport on Tuesday, immigration officials told Agence France-Presse.

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Indian director receives threats over film poster of goddess with Pride flag

Police open cases against Leena Manimekalai for ‘hurting religious sentiments’ with short film Kaali

An Indian film director is facing police investigation over the poster for her new film, which depicts the Hindu goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette and clutching an LGBTQ+ flag.

Leena Manimekalai, an Indian film-maker based in Canada, has received thousands of threats of violence after the poster for her short film Kaali, which was aired in the Canadian city of Toronto at the weekend, went viral on social media.

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Prophet Muhammad remarks embroil India in row with Gulf states

‘Insulting’ comments by spokespeople for ruling Bharatiya Janata party met with anger in Middle East

The Indian government has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with Gulf states after two ruling party spokespeople were accused of making Islamophobic and derogatory comments insulting the prophet Muhammad.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) suspended its national spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, and expelled its Delhi media head, Naveen Kumar Jindal, after their comments went viral in the Middle East, where they were met with a chorus of diplomatic anger.

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Sri Lanka president brings back five-time former PM in effort to ease crisis

Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed to lead ‘unity government’ after days of deadly violence

Sri Lanka’s beleaguered president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has sworn in a new prime minister to replace his brother as the country reels from days of violence.

The new PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has held the post five times before, will head up a “unity government” tasked with finding a way out of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since independence, with severe shortages of food, fuel and medicines and long power cuts.

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